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Listen Up! Great Podcasts to TryThis summer Clayton and I started a podcast called Good Talk. The premise is simple: we chat about things we're interested in. Despite some technical issues (we still haven’t quite figured out all of the little knobs and dials on the mixing board!), we're having a blast. It's surprisingly easy to start a podcast—you simply choose a topic, record an episode, find a hosting site (we chose and then share your podcast with the world! Getting your podcast on iTunes is just as easy—just submit your show information and wait a couple of days for approval. And, if you're as lucky as me and Clayton, you'll have a super talented friend write and record a theme song (thanks, Nathan!). 

Listen Up! Great Podcasts to Try(image: Nathan and Clayton in a serious editing session of Good Talk).

Since we started Good Talk I've become a huge podcast fan, listening to fun and fascinating podcasts every day on my commute or while I'm cooking. Here are several podcasts that Nathan and I highly recommend tuning into. Prepare to get hooked!

What started as an advice column on The Rumpus is now Dear Sugar Radio, a weekly podcast hosted by authors Cheryl Strayed (best known for her book Wild) and Steve Almond (who also gives advice here). The Sugars dispense advice on love, family, friendship, work and more. They don’t shy away from difficult topics and often mine their own personal histories to answer listeners’ questions. The Sugars are, without a doubt, an awesome duo and a treat to listen to every week.

My all-time favorite podcast, the Memory Palace integrates the lost art of storytelling with a love of history. Its creator Nate DiMeo is naturally gifted at the art of the story but roots them in fact. He brings us back to a specific place, person, or moment in our collective memory and recounts the circumstances and the world of the time. Think if Bill and Ted created a podcast and brought characters from the past to recount exactly what they saw. My favorite episode might be the one about Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale.” It tells of a time before recorded sound, when thousands of fans lined the docks in New York to catch a glimpse of her first trip to the U.S. When, around the country, small music halls and churches were packed with those hoping to hear her legendary voice, for one moment.

How did a neighborhood video store disappear seemingly overnight? Who owned an ornate belt buckle found on the side of the road over 20 years ago? Host and detective Starlee Kine takes seemingly uninteresting mysteries and turns them into first rate radio theater. My one complaint is that there were only 6 episodes! I'm already looking forward to the second season. Favorite episode: Case #3 Belt Buckle.

Whenever I think I have a grasp of the world, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore a topic on Radiolab that absolutely astounds me and blows my mind. It's best to just dive in and discover the wondrous reporting and sound editing that is the show, but if you need some teasers, did you know in 1944 and 1945 mysterious balloon-like objects were seen descending from the skies and detonating in fields and near small towns from Alaska, to Oregon, to Nebraska and Colorado? Or that in the 1960's the CIA had a clandestine operation to convert cats into eavesdropping devices? Or that prairie dogs have vocabulary sophisticated enough to chatter 'Here comes the tall human in blue!' and 'Here comes the short human in yellow!' I didn’t think so.

Sabrina suggested I listen to this one and I'm so glad she did! This podcast pairs a panelist of comedians with a mystery guest. The comedians attempt to guess the guest’s field of study and the ensuing Q and A is both hilarious and informative! My favorite episodes: Poisonous Toads (June 18, 2014) and Fish Noises (March 19, 2014)

If you consider yourself a hopeless romantic, prefer handwritten letters over email, need to turn actual pages of a bound book, or just feel a little lost in our new digital reality, know you are not alone. Benjamin Walker has been "personally connecting the dots" for us for the past decade. He looks back with a mix of romantic nostalgia and acceptance, continuously trying to make sense of where we are amidst the noise.

Do you love Garrison Keillor as much as I do? If so, The Writer’s Almanac is a must. The short daily podcast features Keillor recounting tidbits of “on this day in history” followed by a poem. This is the first thing I listen to every morning and I have to admit, the sound of Keillor’s dulcet tones are a great way to start the day!